DRESSING FOR WHO YOU ASPIRE TO BE
We find the more we grow as men, the more we’re looking to further ourselves professionally. Age is often a precursor for the word experienced. Someone generally older usually is said to have good judgement on a variety of topics because of what he has endured in his life. The way a man presents himself, speaks volumes to those around him or even to the people he meets during his travels. Is his shirt wrinkled? Does his jacket fit properly? Are his shoes shined? Is his hair combed? These are all things that usually point to how someone wants to be perceived. Today, most men roll out of bed and throw on whatever they find before heading to the airport. This is not the way you want to introduce yourself to anyone beyond your significant other. Putting your best self out there is a form of good manners and should be taken as serious as any other day dressing. You should want to present yourself to complete strangers the same way you present yourself at the first interview for a new job. First impressions are everything…make your first impression count.
AIRPLANES ARE QUITE COLD
One of the many reasons for dressing up when traveling is simply to have some control over the fluctuation in temperatures when on a plane. Being compressed at 30,000 feet means that air is constantly flowing throughout the cabin. For some, it’s a little too cool for comfort. For us, any excuse to layer on cloths is a means for regulating our body’s temperature and being prepared for whatever weather may arise. Wearing items such as long sleeve dress shirts, cardigan sweaters or unstructured blazers can help alleviate the problem. Always packing for unexpected cooler temperatures during your travels means you’ll always be prepared. No need to have to go out and freeze on an unseasonably cold night in Miami or have to go buy some t-shirt for your scorching hot day at the Grand Canyon. Don’t be unprepared for big or unexpected fluctuations in temperatures whenever you travel.
One of the more disappointing parts about commercial air travel is the dwindling amount of space the typical coach travelers are designated. There are restrictions on the size of your carry-on luggage and frequent upcharges for any additional bags (with most carriers). One headache-free way of making sure you’ve got everything you need (besides correctly planning your outfits before the trip) is by simply wearing something you can wear later in your trip, such as a blazer or jacket or maybe even that dark grey suit. (HINT: simply by arriving at your hotel in a suit, you’d be surprised how often you can receive perks because of the sharp way you’re dressed. Tickets to a sold out show? Casino credit? Upgraded Room?)
YOU’RE ALWAYS PREPARED TO NETWORK
ABN – Always be Networking. Whether you’re dressed like you’re worth a million bucks or even if you are actually worth it, people notice. That cocktail at the airport bar might inevitably turn into a conversation about the game on TV, which can then lead to some new business opportunities. Meeting someone new, could turn a boring Saturday night layover in Cleveland into tickets to an Indians game. Some of our most interesting conversations we’ve had over the years are while talking to people when we fly. It’s a win-win. Most times you’re getting people at their happiest since they’ve just returned from, or are headed to paradise and they’ve got the time to chat. Furthermore, for the most part, people are interested in what you have to say…especially when that person is someone who takes pride in their appearance. You’re telling them that you are someone who should be taken seriously. Try it. Worst thing that can happen is they brush you off. In any case, you can always just turn to the opposite side and try again.
RUNNING INTO SOMEONE FROM THE PAST
If you frequently fly, you’ll know that running into someone from your past can be awkward. Both of you are in the middle of a long security line, it’s crowded, you’re panicked about missing your flight. You may only have a few brief minutes to catch up or exchange information and your image will be burned into that person’s memory. After all this time, all that you’ve accomplished in your career; the first impression has to be memorable. It may sound superficial, but your appearance is how you will be remembered and judged, so make sure you’re at your best. (TIP: Give a firm handshake and make direct eye contact. Don’t be ashamed of who you are and what you’ve become. Exude self-confidence and you’ll continue to grow.)
If dressing up for the airport seems like an unnecessary task, try this. Walk up to the terminal gate, ask for a free upgrade to first class and see what the agent says. The airport ticketing agent will take one look at you standing there in your ratty t-shirt, pajama pants and house slippers and probably give a little chuckle. It’s hard to believe that there would be any situation in life where wearing pajamas outside of your living room is acceptable and then rewarded. While you certainly can get lucky with a window seat on that empty plane, asking for other complimentary perks on that flight isn’t going to work. Dressing well is a form of good manners, it tells everyone around you that you care enough about your appearance in any situation. It says you could dress sloppy and unprofessional, but you choose not to.
BONUS: GREAT EXCUSE TO TRY A NEW STYLE OR WEAR SOMETHING NEW
If you’ve ever taken a hard look in your closet, you’ll probably notice that you still have tags on some of your clothing. These shirts or jackets have just been sitting there waiting for the so-called “perfect occasion” to be worn. We’ve all had this fear of either ruining it, or a fear of looking different or not wearing it to your dream occasion. The airport is the perfect excuse to wear these new cloths. You can wear it without consequence and see how people react. Wearing new cloths can help break you out of a style rut we’ve all been through. It goes to say that most guys struggle with self-confidence when wearing new clothing. Let the airport be the place you experiment with your style. Who knows, it could be a conversation starter!